Whenever someone offers themselves as a savior, protector, hero, or heroine, I ask myself:
Who created the hell, the danger, or the injustice from which they are promising to save me?
Sometimes they helped to build the fire, and they continue to stoke the glowing hot coals.
Sometimes I have eagerly helped to fan the flames, with my own fear, my own hate, my own ignorance, my own abdication of responsibility and power.
Whenever someone declares a war of good versus evil, or a battle of us versus them, I ask myself:
Who decided who are the angels, and who are the devils?
How did they decide this, and what were their motives?
These assignments are not always made fairly and rationally.
Is there another side to the story?
Today, we may enjoy the status of angels, merely due to our country of birth, our race, our religion, or whatever labels others have assigned to us.
But the fires of a human-made hell can spread unpredictably, because fear and blame can quickly shift from one scapegoat to another.
Tomorrow we may be knocked promptly from our precarious perches and recast as devils–no longer viewed as protectors, now villains.
Those whom we originally cast as heroes or saviors may no longer appear so kind.
Decreasing injustice in the world is important. While the world has improved in many ways, there’s still much to be done. But we must also continue to look within, take some self-leadership responsibility for ourselves, and avoid going about things in too militaristic or divisive a fashion.
Sometimes, if we fight too hard against evil, while blindly relying too much upon external protectors, we lose sight of our own opportunities for growth. We become overly polarized. We forget about the power we each have to create change, both large and small.
Being in touch with fears, biases, and prejudices is especially important if you’re a current or aspiring leader.
We must remember that we are all human. We, along with other forms of life on this planet, are all in this together.
Dave welcomes phone-based life, career, and transition coaching clients from around the world.